A Leadership Series
Number Eight of More than Seven, probably Twelve, could get to Thirteen!
Approximate reading time: 2 minutes
In This issue:
- Managing Involvement - Lack of Goal Agreement
- Rob's Corner: Negative Consequences
- Online Choice Analysis Workshop
- Current Blog Posts
- Upcoming Public Workshops
Last week we looked at conflict within the team. This week we will look at the Goal Agreement guideline. The Goal Agreement guideline kicks in if there is lack of goal agreement between the team and the organization around a specific course of action. It has a high impact on the GII leadership behavior.
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If there is lack of goal agreement between the team and the organization for an issue, there is a high probability that team will choose a course of action that the organization either can not or will not implement if GII is attempted.
For example, there may be a lack of Goal Agreement between the team and the organization around compensation. The employees may feel that they are entitled to more compensation than the organization would be agreeable to. Saying to the team, “It’s time to figure out how much you will get paid next year. This will be a GII decision” is probably not a good idea.
The Goal Agreement guideline rules out GII as an effective Leadership Behavior if finding the “one best” course of action is essential and where the course of action chosen does make a difference. A lack of goal agreement by even one team member often indicates a lack of goal agreement for the entire team. If there is any question about Goal Agreement, assume it is not there!
There is a hidden trap relative to Goal Agreement and GII. If you do not do due diligence, or even worse you ignore a known lack of Goal Agreement, and choose GII for an issue, there is a high probability the team will select a course of action that the organization either can not or will not implement. You are left, as that old country song says, "holdin’ the bag." You’ve just put yourself between a rock and a hard place. You told your team it was a GII situation. They then, totally legitimately, believed they “owned” the solution. They believed their solution would be implemented. Now, you get to tell ‘em, “Ha, ha, ha! I fooled you. All your time and effort? Out the window. We’re gonna do it the company way instead!” Just how much credibility do you think you’ll have tomorrow?
Today’s words of wisdom: if there is even a hint that there is lack of Goal Agreement between the team and the organization for an issue, never use GII!
Next time we’ll look at Commitment as the most important consideration.
George posts regularly to the blog at TroubleShootingLogic.com.
The Peril of Negative Consequences
If you whack 'em upside the head,
they just might whack you back
I recently read the advice of another performance management consultant on how to “motivate people.” He correctly noted that attempting to “motivate” others was a fool’s errand. Motivation is inherent in each person, both you and your employees. You can’t motivate them, but you can manage the performance system so that it tends to facilitate better performance and the results you want.
His article went on to suggest that managers lead by example, clearly communicate their expectations, provide feedback, and ensure that there are consequences for good or poor performance. All well and good so far. Then he wrote “Bad things should happen when behavior and performance are bad.” He went on to suggest such negative consequences as more work, penalties, discipline (corporal? he didn’t specify ...), and embarrassment.
Now perhaps I misread him - I might agree with his points if I understood the specifics of what he termed "discipline" or "penalties." Unfortunately, I suspect that some managers - even in today’s “enlightened” era, would secretly agree: when someone gets out of line, you whack ‘em - they’ll get the picture.
We argue that negative consequences (read: punishment) should be used sparingly, if at all, for a very simple reason: they don't work, but let me explain. Any effective management intervention will influence the employee to take accountability for his or her own behavior and the production of expected results. If you agree on that goal, then consider how negative consequences work against you:
- They may produce compliance in the moment, but they don't foster the "buy in" that we ultimately want from our people.
- Once the manager's attention is turned elsewhere, her employee may resume poor work just to "show her."
- Even when there is constant measurement for a particular piece of work, i.e., big brother is watching, the employee is likely to slack off in other areas which are not so well monitored.
- Talented employees will simply leave. Then you are left with only those who can’t work elsewhere. How’s that for a performance (and morale) killer?
- And, most of all, a clever employee will learn how to “not get caught” to avoid the negative consequence, as opposed to changing the behavior!
Embarrassment, in particular, has no place in the manager's repertoire - it WILL engender resentment and is guaranteed to backfire in the long run. A manager who uses embarrassment as a management tool is like a young child who uses profanity - it shows his immaturity and the lack of a truly educated vocabulary.
I'm not suggesting that the manager be a milquetoast. When an employee fails to perform, he MUST be held accountable. As the author of the article in question noted, poor behavior should have a consequence. That “negative” consequence is the manager confronting the employee, conveying information about his work performance, asking for his solution, and expecting improvement. When confronted respectfully, and in the context of a positive manager-employee relationship, the employee (most of the time) will choose to modify his own behavior and meet the manager's expectations.
Where does that leave us? Should you be tempted to “install pain” to change employee behavior, reconsider. Make sure that the employee has the knowledge and skill required. Review the whole performance system to ensure that it supports the desired accomplishment. If confrontation is necessary, approach them with respect. It’s truly your only option. Or rather, the only one that will work.
Winner in You,
- Trouble Shooting Logic
- August 24-26, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- September 20-22, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- October 25-27, 2010, Atlanta, G
- The Sales CODE, September 14-15, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Performance Coaching, September 23-24, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Mastering Involvement, October 28, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Trouble Shooting Logic Train-the-Trainer (T3), November 8-19, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Experiential Expertise Train-the-Trainer (T3) - Openers, Initiatives and Low Elements - November 30-December 1, 2010, Utica, MS
- Experiential Expertise Train-the-Trainer (T3) - Trust, Low Ropes, High Ropes and AlpineTower - December 2-3, 2010, Utica, MS